The building was designed with three-storey glass curtain walling up the middle of the building to provide sufficient natural light and a total of 50 PVC-U windows, all glazed with Pilkington Activ™ Blue. But what lay behind the choice? “Pilkington Activ™ is the product we use for our conservatory roofs and in part, we wanted to demonstrate to customers how it works,” explained Hayden Rushton, Managing Director, Britannia Windows. “Pilkington Activ™ Blue’s appearance looks really striking and it helps to keep the sun’s glare out, as well as using its solar control properties to regulate the building’s temperature.”
Another important incentive was when Hayden went on a health and safety course where he was strongly advised that with new CDM regulations, architects and specifiers should choose self-cleaning glass, for ease of maintenance. Hayden believes that the use of self-cleaning, solar control glass such as Pilkington Activ™ Blue provides an ideal solution for building designers: “Architects are very enthusiastic about using a lot of glass to give a modern, state of the art appearance. We can now advise our clients that by using high performance insulated glass units with the appropriate qualities they can express themselves with far more freedom as the problems of access and internal heat gain are significantly reduced.”
As far as Britannia is concerned, the savings on cleaning and maintenance are quite clear. By looking at standard operating costs the company has calculated that it will save thousands of pounds a year on window cleaners, along with the required scaffolding/cherry picker, which in itself, could have been prohibitive in cost. “I believe it is illogical for anybody not to use Pilkington Activ™ Blue for such a building nowadays,” said Hayden. “We use it in the majority of the conservatory roofs we do and it is also becoming more popular for windows in high-end houses, difficult to reach windows and conservatory side frames.”
Pilkington Activ™ provides the ideal solution to costly scaffolding, working at height restrictions and cleaning maintenance costs. The secret of Pilkington Activ™ is its special coating, which works in two stages. Firstly, the coating reacts with ultra-violet (UV) rays from natural daylight to break down organic dirt. The second part of the process commences when water hits the glass. Rainwater runs down the glass to wash loosened dirt (both organic and inorganic) away. Compared with conventional glass, the water dries very quickly, reducing unsightly streaks or marks.